I mean I don’t mean to brag or nothin’ but did you hear that my husband swam around Martha’s Vineyard this summer?!?! He’s the first to have EVER done it. But wait….. did I mention there were sharks out there? jellyfish? tides and currents? thunderstorms and torrents? All of these he insisted nightly, as I rubbed his broadening shoulders and tucked him into his watery dreams, were much easier to contend with than the uphill battle that is middle school for a dyslexic.
Now, I’ve only ever swam around a pool and can’t even imagine the scale of 55 mile open water swim around an island, but I can attest to the difficulties of a dyslexic’ scholastic experience. For me (a dyslexic to an upside-down backwards “T”) school opened its doors like a giant brick wall. A wall, I saw my peers walking so easily through, was an impenetrable fortress to me that housed the wisdom I so badly wanted and yearned for. It was only through the support of my parents and my capricornian determination that I felt encouraged to scale the brick wall of education until I found an edge I could skirt around and reach the wisdom on the other side.
So even though I’ll probably never need my well healed doggie paddle to circumnavigate the island that Dean and I grew up on, met on and fell in love on, I DO understand, as I kiss my exhausted, sandy, waterlogged husband goodnight at 8pm what he means by his metaphor.
Dean is my hero, and not just for his swim, or his advocacy for dyslexic students or the TED Talk he managed to pull off so brilliantly and eloquently here, but for his re-imagining a population from a different vantage point that forces us ALL to reconsider the parameters of success in a new light. As Dean attests, dyslexia is a strength! It is a gift! It is a powerful tool that teaches us an important lesson about the power of an open mind and an open heart and Dean will lead the way, not just in his ground/wave braking swim around Martha’s Vineyard, but in the swim around our hearts guiding us to a new way of perceiving and reimagining dyslexia.
Please Watch his TED Talk here.